Interviews / Stories
Interview: Photographer Mathias Foley (Denmark)
Tell us something about yourself
My name is Mathias Foley, I’m 25 years old and originally from Herning, a small town in the western part of Denmark. I consider myself a cultural/ subcultural explorer and constantly find myself looking for new adventures to widen my horizon.
How and when did you get into photography?
I started photographing in 2011 just before going on my first trip around the world.. I was determined to return from the trip with some cool photos to show my friends and family so I bought a DSLR one month prior to departure and started getting familiar with it right away. During the trip I visited a lot of well known landmarks and after a few of the traditional tourist photos I started thinking about how I could capture those places from a less photographed angle, see where everybody else went to take their photo and walk the exact opposite direction to take mine, which is a way of thinking that has stuck with me since. Shortly after returning from the trip I moved to Scotland where a friend of mine who is also a photographer brought me with him to photograph a local band, I was asked to do some portraits of the crew and it turned out to be my first photoshoot… it basically took off from that day.
What does photography mean to you?
Photography for me means a lot really, it ties together my great interest for traveling and expressing myself creatively. Through my photos I feel a certain kind of freedom to tell stories without saying a word.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
My photographic style is a fusion of photojournalism and lifestyle photography with a bit of fashion. I have a background in street movements such as Freerunning, Skateboarding, Gymnastics and Streetdance which influences my work today.
Think you in advance what you want in the picture?
It depends on the project but on most of my shoots I try not to plan too much, I usually draw out the general storyline or mood but want to allow for creative freedom on set and especially when working with dancers I find giving them freedom to move turns out much better than locking them in on something very specific, this is probably where the photojournalistic part kicks in.
Studio, on location or both?
I definitely prefer working on locations, I like to put my subject into a location setting and let it work with whatever’s available at the scene, I shoot everywhere from urban scenes to remote desert locations.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
I consider myself a paid professional but feel like I succeed in balancing my personal projects with paid assignments and mostly take on assignments that fit my photographic style.
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
I use Canon 5D mk3 and shoot most of my work with either the 50mm or 40mm, my favourite is the 50mm on full frame. I like prime lenses because I feel like it enhances my creativity when I have to physically move myself in order to get the right framing.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
I remember especially one shoot in Kyrgyzstan - Central Asia a few years ago. I was doing a video shoot of a local group of street dancers which I had planned out to shoot on location in the city to let the architectural leftovers from the Soviet times create the surroundings of the shots to show where these guys were from. I met up with the guys, all set and ready to shoot when we spontaneously decided to change location and shoot the main part of the video in the mountains. I especially remember this shoot because of the heat that day.. it was a super hot day approximately 40 degrees C and clear sky. We spent about 4 hours shooting in the mountains that morning which was extremely hard but we took a chance by changing location and the result turned out great.
What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?
I get inspired by other artists, photo exhibitions, movies and music but my greatest inspiration comes from my surroundings, I’m very inspired by everything that happens off the beaten track, if I go to a big city I rather check out the suburbs than the touristic areas, I want to see what kind of people live there I definitely get inspired by that and use this inspiration to keep pushing myself to think differently.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
A piece of advice for a new photographer starting their own business is to figure out exactly what makes you stand out from the rest of the photographers out there, what can you offer that they cant? know your value and don’t sell yourself short. See opportunities, work hard and don’t forget to have fun in the process.
What do you think of our new magazine?
I think it is super awesome you give the opportunity for artists and models to tell their stories and share it with the entire world.